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Edinburgh tram bids sought

Edinburgh tram

Edinburgh City Council has started looking for contractors to design and build its £165.2M tram extension from York Place to Newhaven, as an inquiry into the first phase of the scheme continues.

Two lots have been announced. The main lot is an infrastructure and systems contract worth £90M, covering design and construction of the double track, 4.6km line. Other civils work includes drainage facilities and eight new tram stops.

Lot 2 is worth £25M and is divided into a swept path contract to clear the tram route of all below ground utilities, and a lighting replacement programme.

Originally the tram line was set to run from Edinburgh Airport to Newhaven but was stopped at York Place due to spiralling costs. Construction began in 2007 but by 2013, nearly all of the £34M contingency fund had been spent. When the line opened in 2014 costs had jumped from £454M to £776M.

An inquiry into the botched tram scheme has been hearing oral evidence on what lead to it going significantly over budget even after its scope had been cut, why it was delivered three years late and why so many disputes occurred.

In 2010 a series of clashes between the infrastructure contractor – a consortium led by contractor Bilfinger Berger, and including engineering giant Siemens and train manufacturer Caf – and client Transport Initiatives Edinburgh led to the project grinding to a halt.

Last month Edinburgh City Council approved the outline business case for the £165.2M extension. It will now go to a second stage during which the project team will consider the affordability of the scheme and apply any lessons emerging from the inquiry.

A final decision on the project and the contractor will be made in autumn 2018. If approved, the line could be up and running in 2022.

Interested parties have until 12 December to respond.

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